Category Archives: GNU Linux

Bash source file

While I had no particular reason why to code it in Perl or Python, I ended writing my scripts in Bash on this Sunday afternoon. No huge tasks were meant to be executed, just some database reading. However, all of the short scripts would be using common variables, namely regarding the DB credentials. Sourcing variables from an external file could be achieved using . filename or source filename.

A little heck comes when passwords containing special characters such as $ < > [] {} ` ' " | & ; * ? are used. In your source file you need to escape each of those characters using a backslash symbol.

For example we could have a configuration file db.conf as follows:


Now, let’s get the variables as follows:

. db.conf
echo $DBPASS

Copy the above in a file named and we run it.


The backslash symbols do not get printed.

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Screencast in Mauritian Creole

A few days ago I received a comment on facebook asking if it would be possible for me to make Linux video tutorials. I recall in a previous LUGM meeting, we did agree that it will help to bring Linux into Mauritian homes if we make Linux tutos in Mauritian Creole.… Read more ➡

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C’est quoi un Raspberry Pi?

C’est la question qu’on m’a posé sur facebook aujourd’hui quand j’ai posté quelques photos d’un Raspberry Pi en action.

RPi-logoUn Raspberry Pi ou tout simplement RPi, est un miniscule ordinateur à la taille d’une carte bancaire. Il suffit de faire la connexion avec un écran HDMI, une entrée réseau, clavier / souris USB et on a un ordi à notre disposition.… Read more ➡

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LUGM Meetup @ Pizza Perfect

As announced on Facebook earlier this week, we had a LUGM meetup today at Pizza Perfect. Scheduled to start at 11h00 but I woke up late. I end up missing the bus. The next one came 30 mins later & was damn slow on the road. Could I complain? Nope! So, I’d better listen to the Bollywood playlist on Kindle.

Ajay & Jagveer called me and I assumed others reached Pizza Perfect while I was still on way. Indeed, when I reached there around 12h05, a small team already was enjoying lunch with no pizza on the table. Aww! For once, I joined in to have a burger lunch too. A perfect vegetarian burger.


Today’s Geek Team

Jochen Kirstaetter & the kids, Nitin Mutkawoa, Shamsher Khudurun (aka Luffy), Jagveer Loky, Ajay Ramjatan, Ibraahim Atchia, Ashley Babajee, Nayar Joolfoo and me.

We had lunch & discussed random topics till 13h00. Afterwards we looked at the LUGM agenda. We started with handling of membership applications. I had quite a bunch of application forms to hand over. Since the secretary couldn’t make it today and we needed to find a novel method to store member details, Ajay volunteered to do this. I also had to handover membership fees from a few new members to the treasurer, that is Ajay. That made us discuss the future of LUGM as a growing community in Mauritius. We exchanged a few words about MITIA (Mauritius IT Industry Association) and the upcoming ProIT 2014 Conference.


Don’t know if it was shooting against sunlight or the rainy weather that got me dark pictures.


Next we had a lengthy discussion about LUGM website revamp. Ajay proposed having a team assigned with different roles, such as webmaster, maintainer/developer, content writers & editors. Everyone pretty much agreed on this. Initially I didn’t want to be in the web team as I rather wanted to direct resources to the Magazine idea. As it happens though, magazines look like an old-fashioned artifact. I changed my mind and joined the web team. Nayar and Nitin volunteered as well. In fact, Nayar also volunteered to put some energy into reviving the LUGM forum as he has some experience writing plugins for MyBB.

While the discussion was still ON, Nitin & Luffy helped Jagveer load Kali Linux onto his laptop. The new recruit was happy.

Ajay tossed the topic on communication channels. The LUGM mailing list looks like an obsolete tool for communication. I agreed as most of the emails go unanswered or might get a response only weeks after. We discussed on the possibility of automatically posting announcements to various social network channels. As of today we have a Facebook group, a Google plus account and a Youtube channel. We intend to set up Twitter and Linkedin accounts and interconnect them.

We also discussed about revenue possibilities through the LUGM website. Ajay showed us the traffic stats of LUGM website. Our jaws dropped!! Nayar & I, simply couldn’t believe those stats. They’re some great revenue potential for the association and the website revamp could make all this happen naturally. Ronny joined the discussion through Skype and shared his views regarding the website revamp.


Lastly, I opened discussion about Ubuntu Mauritius. I explained how it came to my mind putting energy in the Ubuntu Mauritius group which exists since 2011. I’m spending much time working on Ubuntu and CAE Linux (based on Ubuntu 12.04) these days. It makes it easier for me advocating the same and answer questions that are directed towards the project. I could thus help other Ubuntu users & enthusiasts guiding them into bug reporting and doing advocacy on their end. Nayar already has a project that could end up being the first package under ubuntu-mu PPA.


Meetup ended around 15h30 on a happy note with quite a huge list of tasks ahead.

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Running a booth at a conference

I have been an openSUSE advocate for years now & it’s always been pleasure to talk for the Gecko at events, seminars etc. Prior to that the word advocacy was much an ambiguity to me. If someone would toss about project advocacy or technology evangelism, I might not have understood at first. The advocacy I do right now, I owe a lot to the openSUSE project and folks in the community.

I was today watching the videos from openSUSE Conference 2014 and I saw Jos Poortvliet doing a presentation on “How to run a booth and present your project”. This reminded me of folks in the Linux User Group of Mauritius (LUGM), especially the new recruits, asking about what to do when we attended Infotech 2013. I was then able to share some advocacy skills and I could say everyone faired well.


Today I realise we have so much resources within LUGM that could be a reservoir of information if properly channeled during future seminar/conferences. Some of the points Jos emphasized in his presentation are about “having content” and “knowing the audience”. Jos classifies the audience in 3 groups:

  • Newbies
  • Advanced users
  • Experts

The newbies are generally new to Linux/FOSS or might know nothing at all. For such an audience it’s always a good starting point to have a demo; like showing how to accomplish daily stuffs in Linux. Advanced users are most of the time already acknowledged to various FOSS projects and might be around with questions rather than seeking a demo. Experts are usually people having greater technical skills and might perhaps even be contributing to FOSS. They are usually the happy going folks who come to cheer & share their passion. It’s always a good thing to have some experts visiting your booth.

Within LUGM we in fact have already applied such tactics when setting booths. As seen in Infotech 2013, I attended a lot of people who were new to Linux, showed them demos on openSUSE & Linux Mint. Many students who were rather shooting questions about career propects, I was happy to clear their doubts. Whenever I felt overloaded with demos, I directed some of the audience towards other folks, like the cheerful UoM Computer Club. Some of them are kinda new to Linux too but their association with LUGM and MSCC already gave them much experience about FOSS & community, that helped them in talking to people & demo’ing cool tricks. Several other who showed up asking about licensing, we directed them to Ajay who is well versed in that subject. Kids asking for games on Linux were also directed to Ajay. Many young folks who wanted to know about penetration testing stuffs, we directed them to Nitin. That way we basically had a perfect mapping for info requests.

Jos explains several tricks about setting up a booth, the way to stand (not behind but rather in front of the table), how to start a conversation, what to do when idle etc. I believe the video will be useful to anyone who’s looking for some advocacy tips.

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Ubuntu: Build from source using apt-build

Ubuntu lets you build/compile a package from source using the apt-build utility. The latter does not ship by default on standard Ubuntu installs. You may install it as follows:

sudo apt-get install apt-build

Now, to compile a package from source, you do the following:

sudo apt-build install package_name

However, since a few days that I’m using apt-build on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS I noticed an error showing up every time I update the software repositories list.


Upon searching I found that the bug has been around since a while and affects 64bit systems. As few people might be using the apt-build feature therefore it hasn’t been on a priority list. If you’re using apt-build on a 64bit machine it’s highly probable that you’ll encounter the error too.

It can be fixed by specifying the architecture type in the repository configuration file. In this case it’ll be the file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/apt-build.list.

Replace the following line:

deb file:/var/cache/apt-build/repository apt-build main


deb [arch=amd64] file:/var/cache/apt-build/repository apt-build main

That should do the trick. You can now run sudo apt-get update without errors showing up.


The bug is being tracked here.

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Linux free course by EDX

edx_smallI received an email today from EDX about their upcoming course on Linux. I usually receive notifications about new courses but this one caught my attention. I checked and indeed there’s an Introduction to Linux course that is being made available as from 1 August 2014 in collaboration with the Linux Foundation. The course is totally free, i.e no cost associated and it’s delivered online.

For those who’re not familiar to EDX or it’s cousin Coursera, it is an online collaboration of several universities to provide quality courses for free. Folks from around the world can register to these courses and upon completion they receive a certificate of merit/achievement or they can also opt for a paid Verified Certificate of Achievement.

Just for info, EDX was initially an open initiative by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). MIT was the first institution to start open learning by providing their courses for free. They started a pilot project called MITx and offered a course in Circuits & Electronics. Later several US universities joined to form EDX. MIT has also been providing their courseware for free through the MIT Open Courseware website.


7 May 2014, 20h23
tux-scholarAs published on Ars Technica, the Introduction to Linux course usually costs $2,400 which is approximately MUR 72,000. Linux comes for free, most tutorials out there come for free and now even a University-class course is coming for free. What more would you need to start learning? Enroll now!

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LUGM: Linux Magazine

Some time back while having a black coffee in the morning an evil idea lurked in my mind. I instantly posted about it on facebook. Folks were eager to know more. Later in the afternoon I detailed it in another post. It went like this :


The response I got was great. Many liked the post & several others commented to further encourage. Two days later Nadim started a group discussion. The same pulled in several people into the pool, who might help with the project. At some point many of us got lost however, with the amount of missed messages & having to catch up with the backlog. Every now and then one of us had to publish a sum-up to help others keep track of what’s happening.

Then we decided the easiest way would be to publish the sum-up on LUGM instead. We could add required updates as & when we’ve decided stuffs. Basically the idea is to have a Linux Magazine that hightlights our local events & puts forward tutorials suited for local folks. The magazine would be designed & produced by LUGM members.

Sum-up // Magazine content

1. Interviews
2. Local events coverage
3. Tutorials (local context, e.g setting up Emtel/Orange/MTML 3G dongles in Linux)
4. FOSS related articles in oriental languages
5. Programming tutorials
6. Ad spots for sponsors

Discussion was also tossed to have an online version which ultimately would be nothing but just having more dedicated “writers” for On the other hand an offline version of the magazine (PDF) would be suitable for those wishing to carry it on their tablets. On my end I’d vote for both.

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UoM Computer Club – Career & IT Fair 2014

The University of Mauritius Computer Club organized a Career & IT fair on 23rd and 24th April 2014. Ibraahim, president of the club, invited LUGM and MSCC. I liaised with other folks within the Linux User Group to present stuffs. Nadim, Pritvi, Ajay and Pawan answered the call for volunteers. On the first day I reached Octave Wiehé Auditorium (where the event was happening) around noon. In fact, Nadim called me earlier asking to get a few copies of the LUGM membership form as some students desired to join the force. Well … That was something done already. The day before I printed around 25 copies of the membership form and a couple of LUGM info sheet as well.

As I walked across the auditorium’s corridor I could see several companies busy interacting with students. It’s a career fair after all. I was late, so I rushed till the stand that was allocated to LUGM. Ibraahim sent me a layout two days earlier. I knew where we should be. Jochen, Nadim & Pritvi were already there busy explaining stuffs to the young folks. I took out the printouts and handed them to Nadim. I met Computer Club folks who were seemed very taken up by the event. Yunus, Ratna, Ubeid, Kishan, Saamiyah and several others greeted me. It was lunch time & before I could even start advocating, Yunus came up with food. That was great, I needed to eat. Once I start talking about FOSS I might skip lunch.

The first few students I talked to seemed very much interested with our activities and wanted to be involved as well, by learning & sharing. I was happy to see such a spirit. The membership forms were filled up quickly.

MSP caught signing "agreement" with Linux geeks Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Prospective LUGM members (^^,) Folks at Spoon Consulting Kishan wondering something while Saamiyah signs up with LUGM Microsoft folks

On day two, again I woke up late. Rushed to the bus-stop with two heavy bags carrying my laptops, cooling pad etc. I get in the bus and on the next bus-stop Pritvi gets in. #facepalm The day before I boasted that I’ll reach early next time but I am late again. Anyways, we had some geeky chat till university and he helped me carry the heavy load.

Pawan & Ajay called while we were still on way. They reached before us & started doing some advocacy. Nadim reached a couple of minutes later as we entered the auditorium. Saamiyah popped from somewhere cheering that she finally saw us in the bus. Well, long story cut short, Saamiyah, Pritvi and I we actually travel through same route except we never saw each other along the way (except Pritvi who lives nearby with me). That morning she saw (^^,)

Okies. Time to rock the floor. I fired up my Ubuntu laptop & my mom’s Manjaro notebook. Ahaan, I had to ask mom if I could borrow her laptop for a Synergy demo, she agreed. I was still hopping here & there, when Ratna showed up asking if I could do my presentation earlier. It was initially scheduled for 14h30 but since a slot was free I could do it at 11h30. I was all ok for that. My presentation would cover the aims of Linux User Group of Mauritius and a mini-demo of Synergy.

When it was presentation time, oops, auditorium had more college students than university folks. Now, how do I present a technical stuff to these cute creatures? I fired up my presentation slide, introduced myself and changed the topic completely. There was a mini round of clap with cheering when I did that. I guess they preferred a casual presentation than technical stuffs. So, I took the kids back in time & told them the story of Free Software and Linux. Oh! Not to mention, in the story of Free Software, Microsoft stands as a villain. It seemed like the kids enjoyed the story-telling since it ended with another round of cheering.

In the meantime, outside Ronny brought Linuxfest 2013 certificates. The day before I posted on facebook, calling those who’d be around the university to come and collect their’s. A few showed up.

uom-it-fair-8 uom-it-fair-6 uom-it-fair-7 uom-it-fair-9 uom-it-fair-10

In the afternoon I asked Ratna if I could have another presentation slot targetted towards university students. She agreed as a slot was free, however, by 14h00 there was practically no one in the auditorium. I took a small group of geeks with me and hopped around the university calling for people who’d be interested with a Linux presentation. Some answered our call positively. Others went un-interested. We even went knocking a classroom & asked the tutor. The gentleman turned out to be another supporter of Free Software and granted his students a short break to attend the presentation. That was how I did my final presentation about the aims of the Linux User Group of Mauritius (^^,)

The event ended on a happy note with a bunch of folks cheering in the cafeteria having tea, coffee & water.

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Corsair Hackers Reboot, as it happened

Weeks of preparation, meetings and late night group chats finally culminated into Corsair Hackers Reboot. It was planned for Saturday 19th April 2014 at Fortune Way Shopping Mall, Centre de Flacq. The night before Ronny, Nadim, Nitin, Pritvi & I went there to set up the tables and arranging the layout. Most of us reached home quite late. Ajay & Kavish on the other hand had a hectic day finalizing stuffs for Police presence and getting hands on a couple of more devices.


We initially decided to reach Fortune Way at 07h00 to make sure everything is ready by 09h00. Oops! We kinda missed it. Most of us have been quite taken up the last few days and we didn’t make it there until 08h00 – 08h30. Nevertheless, everybody rushed to get stuffs done. Each with their assigned tasks. The participation of University of Mauritius Computer Club members was commendable. Despite having the burden of assignments/dissertation and some being on eve of exams many of the members managed to give us a helping hand.

Team composition

Making up LUGM team was Ronny, Nadim, Ajay, Nitin, Pritvi, Avinash, Kavish, Pawan, Yog, Shamsher, Ashley, Kaleem, Yasir and Me. Selven despite being ill managed to drop by. His presence of course cheered everyone.

On the Computer Club side we had Ibraahim, Yunus, Nirvan, Nayar, Saamiyah, Ratna, Ashmita, Hena, Brijesh, Anup, Kishan and Sherven. A great collaboration of young minds indeed.

Last minute jumping on board were Chelon, Keshav and Kevin from UTM Tech Society.

Ajay and Kavish got hands dirty quickly to setup LAN stuffs. Ashley joined in & taught Computer Club folks how to make LAN cables. Crimping tool, RJ45 connectors and the task was achieved quickly. Being busy already at the Demo desk I didn’t know about the hard work going on behind the scene with cabling & all. I was preparing a Synergy demo with laptops running different Linux distributions and one Windows XP machine (properly licensed & it was their to be dumped for a Linux Mint replacement). Unfortunately the machines didn’t have Synergy and I was waiting for Emtel to fix their connection issue and I would quickly set up. Well … Even though during preps Ajay reminded Emtel of the crappy connection at the Microsoft Global Windows Azure Bootcamp, it seemed like Emtel engineers didn’t take anything seriously. For the whole day I had Internet for something like 15 mins only (a real pity). I cancelled several demos I intended (testing of Internet Browsers, Skype, IRC Chat and even Microsoft Office Online).


Cable guys


Ajay checking the network status


Kavish checking the Dell machines

While I was still setting up the Laptops & Desktops, people started pouring in for a Linux install. Woohooo! That was a great thing indeed. I stopped connecting PCs, temporarily left the demo section & helped in for Linux install along with Pritvi and Kishan. For the whole day I hopped between Linux installs & quick demos. Whenever we were stuck with some partitioning issue Ajay would join to give a helping hand.



Kishan (middle) & Pritvi (right)

I installed Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on a girl’s laptop who’s doing some part-time course in IT. While the setup was on she asked me a few questions about web servers as she was stuck with some assignment involving a migration from Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) to the Apache web server. To ease things for her once I had internet connection I installed Apache on her laptop and explained her a little bit how it works. I dropped a simple HTML file in the DocumentRoot and showed her the major directives of httpd.conf. At the same time Pritvi and others were busy with Installfest. I also installed Ubuntu on another elderly folk’s laptop. I noticed his keyboard had dual layout with Arabic characters and I asked him if he’d like to set it up for Arabic typing. He was happy to hear that. I thus added the Arabic layout and called Saamiyah to type something & see if all keys are set properly. Before leaving the elderly folk gave me a pat on the shoulder and said, “You guys have made my dream come true. I always wanted to have Linux on my laptop but there was no one around to teach me.” Now, that was much more than mere encouragement. Yet another elderly folk stayed with us for the whole day. He had brought a Samsung netbook and his first expression was, “J’en ai marre de ce foutu XP.” Ashley helped him load Linux Mint & Shamsher configured the interface in French. Finally, that was one more happy guy to carry home a Linux machine. Nadim sitting at the Hacking Challenge desk was also busy helping some ladies getting Linux Mint on their notebooks. Some install went unaccounted as I was still hopping to-and-fro the Installfest & Demo desks.


I dd'ed several pendrives to ease installation


Me with my Corsair lanyard


In the centre of the hall, just a few metres away from my desk, Yasir was doing electronic wizardy with his Arduino projects. I could see the “awe” of young folks when he displayed the cool tricks.


Yasir & Arduino

Far from my sight awesomeness was still happening. Yes, the hacking challenges were full ON! It was only when the event was ending that I came to know the proportion of the hacking challenge. A big task achieved indeed by Yog & Nitin. Not so far from the Hacking Challenge, Saamiyah was all colorful while painting cartoon characters on children faces. I wonder if I may call Pawan a kid but mister managed to have a Tux drawn on his hand. Kiddos were also seen having fun with the GCompris setup. Shamsher a.k.a Luffy had his nuts game getting popular. It was still far from my sight & I wondered what could so many people try to solve with nuts. Anyway, I hope to try that some day during a meetup.


Hacking Challenge


A happy Saamiyah painting kids


Shamsher with his nuts game


On the other side of the hall, Merlin Digital were displaying some cool gadgets, seemed like their sensitive-to-touch Dinosaur became popular. Kaleem was there to display Android TV, Emtel showcasing their products/services and Spherinity giving info about their IT courses. One thing I should add about Spherinity was their helpful attitude to note down names & get us some stats about attendees.

My mom, dad and brother came at some time but unfortunately I couldn’t make them meet the rest of the team.

We finished around 16h00 and left Fortune Way past 17h30 after cleaning up & packing our stuffs. It was a great day, awesome event & target achieved. Pizza & beer was a must for the crew (^^,)

Photos, courtesy of Pawan Babooram

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